An Alaskan man was recently convicted for his role in the murder of another man found inside a holdall container in a garage last year.
Daniel Alex Rocero, 46, was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder, one count of manslaughter and one count of tampering with physical evidence for killing Keenan Wegener, 27, and hid his body, law enforcement said Wednesday.
Wegener was a member of the libertarian service organization, Students for Liberty, while attending George Washington University. His comrades remembered him as “the friendliest person you’ve ever known” and a “very outgoing guy”.
“I remember being stuck in an airport after a retreat, joking around and hanging out with him and Floridians as we all got ready to go home. It was his last retirement with SFL because he was graduating in 2018. But I always thought I would see him and other Alaskans one day, although I had my doubts about his insistence on the fact that Kenai was the best part of Alaska. Keenan was a great personality who will be forever missed,” reads a eulogy on the band’s website. “While at SFL, Keenan’s kindness was reflected in his actions. He was always interested in demonstrating the power of volunteerism by caring for our local communities. Through his enthusiasm and hard work, SFL will host a Day of Service, where 10 cities across North America will provide food and clothing to hundreds of homeless people.
Wegener’s obituary remembers him as a man with deep roots in his native Alaska and, later, in Virginia, after moving for school.
At the time of his death, the victim in the case was wearing an ankle monitor as part of bail conditions after being charged with burglary, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Two officers from the Pretrial Law Enforcement Division contacted the Anchorage Police Department on March 20, 2022, requesting assistance in locating Wegener because his ankle monitor had not moved in two days, according to an affidavit of arrest. From the start, one of the PED officers feared the worst, having had clients in the past whose ankle monitors also didn’t move for days, only to find them later “deceased from an emergency medical,” the affidavit reads.
After ringing the ankle monitor and hearing the device, officers spoke with the owner of the residence and explained the situation to him, the affidavit states. Another woman at the residence told police to ‘get a warrant’, but the landlord ‘told officers there was an interior rear staircase they could use to access the basement of the house. “, according to the court document.
After driving through the residence, police found the garage, which was blocked by a toolbox, the affidavit states. After removing the tool box, they entered the garage and noticed a white sheet covering “part of the garage which blocked the view of that area”. Wegener’s body was behind the sheet, “in a large bag on the floor”, and had “blood and facial wounds”.
In a resulting investigation, the owner told police that two days earlier, a man named Happy and another man named Adam Pringle confronted the victim about an incident, the affidavit said. The woman said the three came downstairs, “and she heard loud screaming and arguing, and she pounded on the wall for them. [to] calm down,” the document reads.
At one point, the woman told police that Pringle and Happy had gone upstairs. The two men were arguing over what to do with the victim of the violence, she said. Pringle reportedly said he knocked Wegener unconscious – and asked the woman to provide medical help because she is a nurse. Happy reportedly said Wegener wasn’t breathing and said they should call 911. Pringle then reportedly countered and said Wegener was breathing — and would be “fine.”
Apparently neither option was taken. The woman said she never even got off. When she told this story to the police, she “expressed extreme fear” of Happy and Pringle, the affidavit states, “indicating that she feared for her life if they found out that she had spoken with the police. “.
The man known as “Happy” turned out to be Rocero – whom the nurse then chose from a series of photos. Both men were charged in Wegener’s death on March 31, 2022. Pringle’s trial on the same charges is ongoing, authorities said.
Rocero’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 21 before Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Ramgren. He faces a minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison.
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